The French Navy had to use a backup warship to fire three cruise missiles at Syria after a planned barrage failed to launch. The airborne missiles had issues, too, with at least one of the ten failing to fire properly.
Both the French Navy and the Air Force had difficulties in delivering, according to French media. The country’s Navy had deployed, to the eastern Mediterranean, three Aquitaine-class multipurpose frigates armed with SCALP Naval missiles – the lead l’Aquitaine, l’Auvergne and Le Languedoc. Only the latter vessel fired a barrage of three missiles.
The French defense publication La Lettre A reported that the first salvo of three missiles failed to fire. The Le Languedoc then acted as a backup platform for the strike. According to the newspaper L’Opinion, the navy’s plan involved the firing of “more than three” missiles, but the third frigate missed a short window of opportunity and was ordered to abort launch.
The French Navy has confirmed the failure of the first salvo, saying the use of the backup ship was part of a normal contingency during naval operations. The April 14 launch of the SCALP Naval was the first combat use of the weapon system, and apparently it didn’t go as smooth as the Navy had hoped it would.
The French Air Force also had a glitch in executing their strike. Each of the five Rafale jets sent to attack Syria carried two SCALP missiles. Only nine were properly launched, while the tenth apparently malfunctioned and had to be dropped in a safe zone instead. The hiccup, which was first reported by the blog Le mamouth, was brushed aside by the French military as inconsequential. “All targets have been dealt with” by other missiles, it was explained, according to the magazine Le Point.